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Wow, October and November flew by in what seemed like the blink of an eye. We’re going to try to get new interviews and movie spotlights up as we head into the new year.

A couple months ago we had the pleasure of connecting with Mara Lesemann, the writer and producer of the independent film Detours. She shares with us details on how the film came together, the awesome cast, and the real road trip that they needed to take to bring the movie together.

Who?
I wrote and produced the road trip comedy Detours, which is my 2nd feature. Robert McCaskill directed, and Christopher Eadicicco was our director of photography. I knew from the beginning that I wanted Tara Westwood (The Grudge, Triggered) to play the daughter who’s moving to Florida and convinces her depressed, widowed dad (Carlo Fiorletta, Available) to drive south from NJ with her. Tara had a major supporting role in my first feature, Surviving Family, and I loved working with her. She traveled with me on several festival road trips for that movie, and after brainstorming with her for days, I asked her to also come on board as a producer. That turned out to be the smartest thing I could have done. Tara and our casting director, Caroline Sinclair, put together an amazing cast for a low-budget indie movie. It includes the amazing Richard Kind; the late great Paul Sorvino; multiple TONY award winner Michael Cerveris; Deirdre O’Connell, who won the 2022 TONY for Best Actress; NY stage and indie film standout Debargo Sanyal; and Vanessa Aspilla (Only Murders in the Building). We worked with indie musicians to create a fantastic soundtrack, including the closing credits song “Down the Road” by country music singer/songwriter Lane Turner.

What?
Detours travels from New York City to Saint Petersburg, Florida with Jennifer Giraldi, a NY-based actress whose marriage has just ended and who has vowed to build a new life and a new career in Florida. It’s been two years since her mom- a successful writer- died suddenly and her dad is struggling with depression. Dan still has his late wife’s ashes in a coffee can in his kitchen because he can’t decide what to do with them. The father and daughter re-discover their shared joys while they examine their very different perspectives on the late mom (played in flashbacks by Kim Director). They both also dip their toes back into the dating pool, with humorous but sometimes contentious results.

Where?
We shot all the indoor scenes in New York City and New Jersey. Then we hit the road with a skeleton crew and shot the actual drive that Jennifer and Dan take in the movie. We went south on Route 95, cut east over to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, then continued south to Saint Petersburg, Florida. Our camera team did an amazing job. Most of the movie was shot on an Arri Alexa, but the road trip incorporates some scenes shot with a Go Pro from a moving car.

When?
Detours takes place in the present, except for a few flashbacks to Jennifer’s childhood. We shot the movie in late summer and early fall of 2014, and it premiered at the 2016 Sunscreen Film Festival in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Introducing our movie in the city where the action hits a climax- a scene shot on a boat on Tampa Bay with help from Eckerd College’s student Search & Rescue Team- was great. I’ve worked with FilmHub to get the movie out to a range of streaming services, and that’s been a very good experience.

Why?
I love telling stories about families- the good, the bad, and the lies. My first feature was about alcoholism, mental illness, and suicide, so I wanted to look at the lighter but still very imperfect things that we all go through. Having full control of my projects is a joy, even though that comes with a (very!) tight budget.

How?
Detours is currently streaming on Tubi, The Roku Channel, Plex, and Freevee.

Watch Online for Free:

Learn more about the movie on its official website!

How in the world is REPO! The Genetic Opera not hitting theaters midnight on Halloween? Darren Lynn Bousman’s horror musical would be the perfect way to end All Hallows Eve. Instead, we’ll have to wait until November 7th, when the film gets a limited release in Los Angeles. It is unknown if and when the film will open wide.

Lionsgate’s official description of the film; “In the not so distant future, an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants… for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family’s mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo’s Genetic Opera, she won’t turn back until she finds what she’s looking for.”

Continue reading to watch the film’s trailer.

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Greetings from the Shore, starring David Fumero

Greetings From The Shore is an independent film by Greg Chwerchak, that stars Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), David Fumero (One Life to Live), and introduces Kim Shaw. I had the pleasure of seeing the film a couple months ago, before it took home more than 40 awards at 70 film festivals. The film is a sweet and fresh coming of age story that is set at the Jersey Shore, which has never looked so good.

The film is screening in New York City tonight at the AMC Loews Village 7 (on 3rd Street), and like all independent films, it could use your help. If “Greetings” does well tonight, the film has a chance to open wider, and it really deserves it.

The film’s official description: “Still reeling from the death of her father, a young girl spends one last summer at the Jersey Shore before heading off to college. But when her plans fall apart, the girl stumbles into a mysterious world of Russian sailors, high-stakes gambling, and unexpected love.